Rockville Mayor-Elect Douglas Duncan, who during the campaign strongly criticized City Manager Richard Robinson, said that he is "examining the city's options" to terminate Robinson's service.

In a wide-ranging interview after his election victory last week over incumbent Steven Van Grack, Duncan also said the city will put off any action on the long-deliberated Rockville Pike development plan until after a public hearing Dec. 8.

He also said that after the bitter mayoral campaign, Van Grack contacted him on election night and offered to meet with him about the transition. But Duncan said he had no plans for such a meeting because "I am concentrating on moving ahead."

City attorney Paul Glasgow said he sent Duncan a copy of Robinson's contract, along with a confidential memo detailing actions the city can legally take in the event the mayor and the council move to terminate Robinson's contract before it expires Feb. 15.

Robinson's performance as city manager became a key issue in Rockville's heated mayoral contest, with Duncan attacking what he termed as Mayor Van Grack's "total support" of the city manager. Duncan charged that while Robinson is "technically very competent," his management style "closes our citizens off from participating in the process."

Said Robinson: "Naturally, I am worried. But I have not started a job search yet."

Robinson said that he has not heard from Duncan since the election but that he would like to meet with the mayor-elect and the council to express his desire to continue working for the city.

"At this time, I would like to renew my contract," he said. "But if there was a vote of no confidence or something, I don't know."

Duncan declined to comment on whether he plans to ask the council to release Robinson before February, a move that according to Robinson's contract would require a city payment of six months' salary. Duncan said he would "like to take care of {the matter} as soon as we possibly can."

In Rockville, which maintains a part-time mayor and city council, the city manager is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the city and the hiring of department heads, including the police chief. The city manager is paid $65,500 per year, while the mayor makes $8,000 and the council members, $6,000.

Almost immediately after taking the city manager's post 21 months ago, Robinson created controversy when he sought to change the hierarchy of city hall by asking the mayor and the council to place the city attorney and city clerk under his control. The city attorney and the clerk, who acts as the city's official record-keeper and treasurer, traditionally are the only two posts independent of city manager.

The council approved Robinson's request to require the clerk to report to him, but denied his request to change the status of the city attorney. The council this year reversed its position on the city clerk.

"Duncan said, "That was the first thing that alarmed me . . . that and in other ways, he went overboard in showing authority."

Robinson has also received sharp criticism for his relations with minorities on the city staff after the resignations of two high-ranking black Rockville officials and the departure of a third after his job was cut in a reclassification of city jobs. The former employes ultimately filed complaints with the city and state human rights commissions and one has filed suit.

Council member James Coyle, who won a second term last week, said he believes these and other allegations have put Robinson on "shaky ground. It is the man, the perception and the way he is operating that is causing the problems." Coyle said he had not made a final decision on Robinson's future with the city.

The possibility of a new city manager could also signal danger for a number of the city's department heads, including Police Chief Jared D. Stout. The city manager hires the police chief, and Duncan and some members of the new council say Stout's job could also be on the line.

The police department has been the focus of increasing scrutiny stemming from a report last year that noted the poor relations between the county and city police forces and that criticized the traditional role of the Rockville department as a supplement to the county force.

Coyle said "it is difficult to say" whether Stout will be kept on in the event of Robinson's departure, but added, "There is tremendous concern about the management of the police department."

Coyle said there is also "some question" as to the confidence Stout inspires from his force.

Stout, who has headed the Rockville police since 1979, said he is not worried about the security of his job. He said his contract runs through June but is "reviewable at any time."

Coyle said he expects the city manager issue to come up Monday, at the first meeting of the mayor and council.

"We owe him that. We owe him to take this up quickly," Coyle said.

The meeting at city hall will follow a swearing-in ceremony at the F. Scott Fitzgerald Theater.

In addition to the decision on the fate of the city manager, Duncan said he hopes his administration will move speedily toward resolving two development concerns: Rockville Pike and Fortune Parc.

Limiting growth along the Pike has been the subject of several studies during the past five years, but a plan completed this summer now faces a new mayor and two new council members. While Duncan and his council members said they hope to pass a program for Pike development by February, at least one, incumbent Stephen Abrams, is skeptical.

Abrams, the only successful candidate to run with Van Grack, jokingly said he expects the plan to be passed by "the year 2000."

New council members Coyle, Viola Hovsepian and David Robbins -- who ran on a ticket with Duncan -- oppose a key section of the plan calling for construction of parallel roads to ease congestion on the Pike.

The other major development issue facing the city is Fortune Parc, a 1.7-million-square-foot hotel, office and retail complex proposed for a 49-acre parcel just north of Montrose Road along I-270. The site is just outside Rockville's borders, but is part of an area the city is seeking to annex.